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EP Review: Evolve or Die by Tigercub

Tigercub release their new EP Evolve or Die on 29th September via Alcopop! Records. The band live by their words and the EP sees the band progressing and the sound growing into something bigger and more ambitious.

The band knew that wanted the record to be bold and stylistically out-reaching anything they’d done previously before they even got down to work – they knew they wanted live drums in tandem with machines, live and looped guitars, samples, layered drums to create textures and cross rhythms, as Hall continues to expand:  “We wanted to see whether these songs could stand up on their own without the ‘creature comfort’ methods and techniques we’ve learnt to lean on, so we did things we’d never done before, like removing all the riffs. Then we recorded everything back to front, sampled it, looped it, and ran into the red. It was a truly testing and truly terrifying experience but I wanted us to channel that uncertainty and intensity and turn it into something special.”

The thematic inspiration for the record comes from a short story released in the ‘60s by Argentinian author George Louis Borge called ‘The Library of Babel’. An image of a page from one its imagined books dominates the front cover of the new EP. The plot is set in a universe in the form of a vast library which consists of an enormous expanse of hexagonal rooms containing the bare necessities for human survival. Though the order and content of the books on the shelves is random and apparently completely meaningless, the inhabitants believe that the books contain every possible ordering of just 25 basic characters (22 letters, the period, the comma, and the space).

“Rock music can be so nostalgic and conservative” says front man Jamie Hall of the current musical climate “I think the only way to find a mass audience is to try and stay relevant, and I don’t feel like rock music tries to be relevant a lot of the time.”

“The Library of Babel opens up the question of determinism for me” he continues “Do we have autonomy over our own lives? I get that feeling with rock music sometimes, that it already contains all the possible combinations. To break out of that and create your own autonomy in a world that’s already been determined for you hits to the heart of what drives me to write songs – they compel me as an artist, these types of interesting philosophical questions.”

So, you’ve got the background, does the EP live up its billing?

Well it’s not an easy answer. It’s an ambitious record and is anything but conservative. The band push themselves forward and create a truly unique sound. They’re not your average band this is the release that proves that they’re something special. Unfortunately, the sound pushes them into a sound Alt Dialogue isn’t too comfortable with.

Both ‘Into The Ashes’ and ‘Faking Laughter’ are great tracks. They’re also the two that most comfortable fit into an alt rock sound. Compare them to the tracks that Tigercub really push themselves on (‘Divided States of Us’ and ‘It’s Only Love’) and they could be considered a little tame.

‘Divided States of Us’ is just too much. The programmed drums are a real aural assault, rather than revelling in the chaos it’s too difficult to take in and enjoy. ‘It’s Only Love’ tries for the progressive dance rock akin to Everything Everything but falls flat.

Progress is good. Tigercub live by the title, it’s just not for us.

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